Abbott’s approach right on hurricane-related STAAR testing

Robert Pratt photo Copyright Pratt on Texas

Robert Pratt

“Gov. Greg Abbott is putting pressure on the Texas Education Agency to give students in school districts affected by Hurricane Harvey a reprieve from state testing requirements,” reported the Austin American-Statesman.

“Students in the fifth and eighth grade must pass the math and reading State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness to move on to the next grade. In a letter on Monday, Abbott asked TEA Commissioner Mike Morath to waive the so-called Student Success Initiative requirements for students in Harvey-affected areas,” the paper reported.

Image: Greg Abbott

Gov. Greg Abbott

“I also know some of those requirements could be relaxed in order to provide relief to students in areas hit hardest by the hurricane. As commissioner, you have authority to waive certain SSI provisions. I ask you to do so,” the Governor wrote.

I commented on this many weeks ago and pointed out that if the tests exist to measure student learning then a hurricane is no reason not to administer the tests as the students have mastered what they’ve mastered no matter the situation.

Over 240,000 people have signed an on-line petition asking Texas to completely cancel STAAR testing for Harvey-affected schools. But such a policy would be a failure to measure where students stand academically and thus is a disservice.

The Statesman reports: “Abbott’s letter didn’t go so far as to ask for a suspension of tests but he asked Morath to request permission from the U.S. Department of Education to not give state ratings for campuses affected by Harvey this year.”

That is the right approach, test and measure but take away serious penalties for lower scores.

What do you think?...

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